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View Full Version : Getting Fired by SMS? Ouch!


Jason Dunn
06-04-2003, 06:00 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/2949578.stm' target='_blank'>http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/2949578.stm</a><br /><br /></div>"The UK's largest personal injury claims firm, Accident Group, has sacked 2,400 people - many by text message - after its parent company Amulet Group announced on Friday that it would go into administration. Staff with company mobile phones received a series of text messages, warning them that salaries would not be paid. Manchester-based Amulet Group said its subsidiary had to cease trading because it could not sustain its "continual battles with the insurance industry" and after "the sudden failure of a banking partner to support the company"."<br /><br />Could you imagine getting pink-slipped virtually? If you need to let someone go from their job, I think it's incredibly disrespectful to do it any other way than face to face.

Jeff Rutledge
06-04-2003, 06:18 PM
I wonder if this could open them up to legal action. I don't know if there's any way to ensure an SMS message is delivered. An individual may be able to state that they were still under the impression they had a job and lived with an expectation of income.

Having said that, it seems the company has gone under and you can't get blood from a stone eh?

Interesting case either way though.

And yes, I agree Jason. It's completely inappropriate to terminate anyone in such an impersonal way. If they're in a different city, I guess I could understand over the phone in extreme cases, but even then it's usually done in person.

Bottom line is that it's too bad so many people are out of work now.

liban
06-04-2003, 06:22 PM
So they fired them via their cellphone, but didn't cancel the phone service contracts? If I was an employee I would sell the phone to recoup some of the wages!

Bob Anderson
06-04-2003, 06:24 PM
While I would hope that you would do your "pink-slipping" in a more "humane" manner than SMS, let's face it, if the company is going broke -- and no one is going to get paid -- what people are going to be willing to make personal contact with all those employees?

At least the SMS messages were sent quickly, so you knew that there was no more income and you were "on your own."

I've heard more terrifying stories where people went to work and the doors were locked and no explanation was given. Then you'd wonder what in the hell was going on without an explanation.

While I don't support SMS terminations, as with anything, there's a case to be made for it's "benefits" -- namely -- instantaneous notification in cases where there won't be an opportunity to talk to someone.

admdvs
06-04-2003, 06:25 PM
i remember reading something about some country where it is legal to divorce your wife via SMS... something about having to give them two written notices before you can get the papers signed (only the husband needs to sign the papers)...

http://uk.gsmbox.com/news/mobile_news/all/48283.gsmbox

"Honey.. lets move to Dubai !!"


adam

Jimmy Dodd
06-04-2003, 06:58 PM
There was an old Robin Williams movie ("The Survivors" maybe?) where he gets fired by a trained parrot while the boss is on vacation. It seams the boss had an issue with confronting people with bad news so he trained the parrot to fire people while he spent time at the beach.

So there are worse alternatives to getting fired via SMS. :D

JvanEkris
06-04-2003, 07:56 PM
I wonder if this could open them up to legal action. I don't know if there's any way to ensure an SMS message is delivered. .Unfortunatly, there is a way to know for sure. The protocol to send SMS allows to send a delivery-report when it is read (much like e-mail).It's completely inappropriate to terminate anyone in such an impersonal way. If they're in a different city, I guess I could understand over the phone in extreme cases, but even then it's usually done in person.I agree as well. I would sell the phone and the laptop :twisted: to make up for the missed pay-check.

Jaap

DavidHorn
06-04-2003, 08:10 PM
Hmm... in the UK one person realised he was sacked when his card wouldn't open the exit gate of the car park - the attendant told him he was fired.

Regarding the accident group: yes, it's sad that so many people lost their jobs like that, but if you guys had any idea of what the Accident Group did, it's good riddance to bad rubbish.

The AG was responsible for sueing people after accidents. One memorable advert went a little like this. (completely true)

Man in car.
Car breaks down.
Friendly farmer comes by with tractor, offers to tow him to garage.
Man accepts.
Man starts to attach rope to three point linkage on tractor.
Farmer accidentally activates hydralics on tractor, crushing man's finger.
Man calls Accident Group and sues farmer for 30,000.
Man wins.
Farmer loses farm and livelihood.
Farmer commits suicide. OK, they didn't put that in the advert, but it's rumoured to be true.

So, as you can imagine, I'm very against the compensation culture. Take out insurance instead.

BTW, I'm sueing Pocket PC Thoughts because the forum colours are making my eyes insensitive to pale blue. Dunn, I'll see you in court!

krisbrown
06-04-2003, 08:26 PM
True, they were one of the biggest ambulance chasers in the UK, and that sort of business is frowned upon over here, cos we don't want to end up like the States.

I walked into a liquer superstore in America wearing flip-flops(beach sandals) and the manager ran over like I was carrying a gun!
'you can't wear those in here sorry'
'er what?'
'we're not insured if you stub your toe' :roll:

Duncan
06-04-2003, 08:27 PM
Ummm David - I'm pretty sure that it is the farmer who claims - and from the Injuries Compensations board not by suing! In fact I'm pretty certain that most of their business was for claims off the public purse and companies/corporations - not individuals... not that they weren't dodgy (appeared more than once on Watchdog...!)

trevleyb
06-04-2003, 08:45 PM
I read somewhere (I think it was the Register) where this was recently tried in court and the court ruled that dismissing someone using SMS messaging was not legal, and therefore the person in question was not sacked.

thenikjones
06-04-2003, 08:59 PM
So they fired them via their cellphone, but didn't cancel the phone service contracts? If I was an employee I would sell the phone to recoup some of the wages!

There was widespread "looting" of computers, laptops etc so some employees got their own back.

I sympathise with the people being laid off, but the business went under due to a huge increase in false claims. But when you advertise along the lines of "done something silly - see if you can make a quick buck" then the expression "hoist by their own petard" leaps to mind.

klinux
06-04-2003, 09:50 PM
There was an old Robin Williams movie ("The Survivors" maybe?) where he gets fired by a trained parrot while the boss is on vacation.

I am not a lawyer but I am sure a contract cannot be terminated by a non-human animal. :mrgreen:

Jimmy Dodd
06-04-2003, 09:59 PM
There was an old Robin Williams movie ("The Survivors" maybe?) where he gets fired by a trained parrot while the boss is on vacation.

I am not a lawyer but I am sure a contract cannot be terminated by a non-human animal. :mrgreen:

Most of the people I've consulted for could be considered "non-human" or "animal" and we've had contracts. :D

paulv
06-04-2003, 11:44 PM
As hinted by Trevleyb, we've had a case here in May in Australia where this happened for one employee.

http://www.smh.com.au/text/articles/2003/05/20/1053196589349.htm

Fortunately for him, our unfair dismissal laws mean that the company got a lot of bad press about it's efforts. Unfortunately, if the UK company's gone broke, they're not going to particalurly care about bad press.

cyp
06-05-2003, 01:33 AM
my company did this to our consultant :twisted:

beq
06-05-2003, 04:56 AM
i remember reading something about some country where it is legal to divorce your wife via SMS... something about having to give them two written notices before you can get the papers signed (only the husband needs to sign the papers)...

http://uk.gsmbox.com/news/mobile_news/all/48283.gsmbox

"Honey.. lets move to Dubai !!"
adam
But when you advertise along the lines of "done something silly - see if you can make a quick buck" then the expression "hoist by their own petard" leaps to mind.
I... can barely stop laughing to type this... thanks for the laughs :mrgreen:

andrewlwood
06-05-2003, 06:26 AM
[quote}

There was widespread "looting" of computers, laptops etc so some employees got their own back.

[/quote

That's not really getting your own back, sadly - the equipment only goes to the receivers anyway, doesn't it?

And everyone who was laid off was owed a full month of wages for May, which they have no hope of getting - that's why they used SMS - because people had already received their paycheques, and were assuming that they'd have the money in their accounts - which they didn't, and never will have.

Never mind selling the phone, I'd be calling all my long-lost friends in australia.

lonesniper
06-05-2003, 03:07 PM
if you guys had any idea of what the Accident Group did, it's good riddance to bad rubbish.

I agree. It is sad people are loosing their jobs, but I will not miss being hassled in the High Street by their Sales Agents.

Problem is now I have to find another retirement plan as I was planning on getting into a car crash or being injured at work and then sueing someone :D